Friday :: May 7, 2004

The Lack of Accountability Party

by Mary

Despite the fact that Donald Rumsfeld is responsible for the way the war in Iraq has been run, Republicans don't think he should be held accountable. Rumsfeld decided that the US could occupy Iraq with limited troops but with maximal brutality, threw out the State Department's extensive plans for the post-invasion period and replaced them with plans of wishful thinking, and since then has run the occupation on the cheap with off-the-books contractors. A micro-manager, Rumsfeld has made most of the disastrous decisions in Iraq and according to Bremer, even refused to allow the release of prisoners who had been innocently picked up by the massive sweeps. Yet, the smart money in Washington backs his surviving this crisis of his making. Why? Because Bush, who reportedly reprimanded Rumsfeld for not warning him about the photos (the WaPo says that Rumsfeld "mentioned" the problem to Bush in January), believes the problem is the fault of just a few bad apples, and he has expressed his strong support for his Secretary of Defense.

From the White House, Rumsfeld's future appeared more secure. President Bush, after issuing a rare public apology during a Rose Garden appearance with Jordan's King Abdullah, called Rumsfeld "a really good secretary of defense" and said "he will stay in my Cabinet."

This endorsement came a day after Bush aides leaked the news that the president had scolded Rumsfeld for not telling him about the pictures. A friend of both men said yesterday that the endorsement more closely reflected the president's true feelings. The friend recalled that on April 30, as the world was digesting the first wave of photographs, Bush went to dinner at Rumsfeld's home, where a small group of guests, including Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), heard the president express his "deep appreciation" for the job Rumsfeld has been doing.

Behind the scenes, the White House was taking no action to build support for Rumsfeld in Congress -- because the administration does not think he is in genuine danger, one senior official said. This wait-and-see approach allowed Bush's aides to watch as events unfold.

Nevermind the "stain" on the US reputation, nevermind the disastrous situation in Iraq, nevermind the deaths of the American troops and the tens of thousand Iraqis, no one in Bush's administration will be asked to resign. Why should they when Bush doesn't think anyone, except a few bad actors, did anything wrong? After all, Bush has never paid a price for any of his personal screwups, because in Bush's world there is always someone else who will pay the piper.

Mary :: 8:16 AM :: Comments (22) :: Digg It!